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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 18:00 GMT
Houllier cool on Newcastle link
Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier
Houllier is currently working with the French Football Federation
Gerard Houllier has reaffirmed his commitment to the France Football Federation after he was linked with the Newcastle manager's job.

Former Liverpool boss Houllier is the FFF's technical director and is a contender to succeed Sam Allardyce.

But FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes revealed he has spoken to Houllier and been reassured he would not be moving to Tyneside.

He said: "Gerard's word is enough for me. He works for us."

Escalettes added: "I talked to Gerard by telephone - he is on business for us in the United States at the moment - and he told me 'every time an English club is in difficulty my name comes up'.

"Gerard had an extraordinary image in England, I'm flattered to hear his name all over the place, I tell myself we made the right choice, everyone wants to have him."

Newcastle chairman Chris Mort has not ruled out appointing a foreign manager, although he insists he must speak English.

"This is a big job without having to operate through an interpreter," Mort told the Newcastle website.

Newcastle have been forced to widen their search for Allardyce's successor after Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp rejected a move to St James' Park.

Didier Deschamps is the latest to be linked with the post - and his odds shortened dramatically on Tuesday evening with some bookmakers installing the ex-Juventus boss as the new favourite.


Blackburn manager Mark Hughes and former Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan and former striker Alan Shearer have also been linked with the vacant job, along with Houllier.

The 60-year-old won five trophies over six seasons with Liverpool. Reports have also suggested Houllier could potentially bring in Shearer as his number two in an attempt to groom the former England star for the job long-term.

Mort also emphasised any new appointment would need to rejuvenate Newcastle's youth system, a requirement Houllier is more than capable of achieving.

There are some clubs in the country where it is essential that the team generally tries to play football with some flair, and this is one of them

Newcastle chairman Chris Mort

Caretaker manager Nigel Pearson has taken charge since Allardyce's departure last Wednesday.

The Magpies face a tricky third-round replay against Stoke in the FA Cup, their only realistic hope for silverware this season.

However, Mort insisted the club's next manager will be a long-term appointment with a mandate for attacking football.

"There are some clubs in the country where it is essential that the team generally tries to play football with some flair, and this is one of them," he said.

"In the most difficult league in the world it is only the great managers that can combine that sort of style with winning."

Writing in his programme notes ahead of Wednesday's game, he said: "We need someone willing and able to take on, and cope with, Newcastle United.

"As a big club with massive potential, this is a fabulous club to manage, and some of the candidates we have talked to appreciate that fact.

"However, we are not currently a Champions League team, and in six seasons out of the last 10, we have finished in the bottom half of the Premier League.

"That means we are not necessarily going to interest a manager who is already at a team playing Champions League football or whose only ambition is to manage a top team in, say, Spain or Italy."

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